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028. How to Navigate Infertility

Our conversation today is with Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo. Dr. Rasheedah is a General Practitioner based in the U.K. with an interest in women’s health. She has 7 years of experience during which she has gone on to gain a diploma in obstetrics and gynecology and also a Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She is also a clinical fellow/tutor in Kings College Medical School, London.

She is passionate about women’s health and family wellbeing with her favorite quote being “prevention is better than cure.”

In this day and age, with women choosing to bear children at a later age, it seems that infertility is on the rise. In this podcast, we discuss the perception vs reality of infertility, and how to navigate the journey. Everyone will enjoy this brief, but concise discussion because you or someone you know is trying to navigate infertility.

Episode Highlights with Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: 
  • Prevalence of infertility ??
  • How to treat infertility
  • Tips on how to navigate infertility
To implement what you learn, join our Facebook Group: Wellness Surge Family.
 
Connect with Dr. Rasheedah on Instagram @womenshealthwithdrrasheedah

Show Transcript

Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Wellness Surge Podcast with Dr. Adeola Oke. Each week we discuss our wellness journey with real people like you and me. We have conversations about food, fitness, mental health, financial wellness, and much more, so you can get back to the real you. To make sure that you’re up-to-date with this and other wellness topics, visit wellnesssurge.com. Information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of the information presented here without first speaking with your primary care provider. Now let’s head on to the show.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:00:36] Hello, everybody! Welcome to the Wellness Surge Podcast. My name is Dr. Adeola Oke. And today I have with me, Dr. Rasheeda from the United Kingdom. And we’re going to be talking about ‘How to navigate infertility’. Say hello to everybody Dr. Rasheeda. 

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:00:53] Hello, everyone. Thanks for having me. 

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:00:55] Wonderful. Thank you for being here.

We appreciate you. Alrighty. So Dr. Rashida is a general practitioner based in the United Kingdom, like I said, with an interest in women’s health. She has seven years of experience during which she has gone on to gain a diploma in obstetrics and gynecology, and also a membership of the Royal college of general practitioners.

She’s also a clinical fellow and a tutor in King’s College Medical School, London. She’s passionate about women’s health and family wellbeing, with her favorite quote, being “Prevention is better than cure.” That’s totally my own quote, too. Like. I’d rather prevent that’s my big thing. I’d rather be going to prevention than curing, because if you don’t the money you’re going to spend on prevention or rather let me say it this way.

If you don’t take care of yourself, now, you’re going to spend that money trying to cure whatever you didn’t prevent. 

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:01:49] Right. Exactly right. Exactly.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:01:51] . Alrighty. Alrighty. Alrighty. So thank you. Like I said, thank you so much for being on the show today, all the way from the United Kingdom. Alrighty. So we are going to be talking about ‘How to navigate infertility.’

So based on your experience, what is the state of infertility around the world right now? You know? 

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:02:11] Um, I think that there’s, there’s two components to my response to this. I think that  there’s definitely been an increase in infertility around the world, but I think there’s also been, what I would like to call an apparent increase in infertility just because of the way the world is changing.

I think we’ll probably expand on this some more and I can kind of explain why I’m saying that. I think generally there’s been a decline in fertility, but I think on top of that, the way that we’re living our lives now and the decisions we’re making about our lives and our future actually has contributed to that seemingly increasing infertility around the world.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:02:45] Delve in. Delve in. Just let let’s explain. Explain more. Yeah. 

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:02:49] Cause if I, if I were to break down infertility and the causes into maybe broadly speaking two separate groups, I would say personally, I would say that there’s actually the. The factors that, you know, environmental factors or things that are inherently wrong with an individual like the physical factors.

But I think there’s also the social factors as well. Um, I think I’ll start off explaining the social factors because that’s kind of what I meant by the appearance rise and infertility. Um, back in the day, um, people would have kids when they were in their twenties. Um, but now you’re seeing more people want to enter into the workforce.

People are making decisions about when they want to have kids and delaying the, these, these kind of decisions until later. Or when they’ve reached a certain, you know, you know- people are giving themselves goals. Like saying, Oh, I’m not going to start having kids until I’ve done this, and I’ve got that master’s degree, and I’ve got this house.

 So that on it’s own, actually, does seem- well kind of paints this picture of infertility. Because what then happens is by the time that they’re now ready to start to try to have kids, then nature kicks in because actually infertility does incline with age. And that’s a natural phenomenon. But because we’re delaying the decision to have kids till later on ,then seems like infertility’s on the rise.

Does that make sense? 

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:04:10] It does. So I want to break this down a little bit. Okay. So there are two things I’m hearing from this, right? You are saying it’s an apparent infertility and then age right?  

So. My first question is this. I see people in their twenties. Okay. Having not been able to have a child and it’s really, it’s really sad to them because they’re like, well, I’m doing it early. I’m trying early. Okay,then the second one is the other question, is this: what is that age when you talk about age? What is that like age, like you have to start thinking: okay, my clock is starting to tick down? Right.  

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:04:43] I think I’m talking more about like first , the instance of the 20 year old, who is trying to have kids, um, who unfortunately is struggling. Um, then that person or that individual actually fall sunder the physical factors that I was talking about when I was breaking it down into this kind of the contributing factors to infertility rise. So when we’re talking about the physical factors, I think generally there’s been a decline in the terms of the purity of our environment that we live in. And, you know, inhaling this fumes and inhaling all these particles that are in the atmosphere can have detrimental effects. Not just in our general physical wellbeing, like our lungs, our hearts, people know very much about that, but actually it can affect infants. It can affect fertility as well and can cause a decline in terms of quality of the sperm, actually.

When you delve into that some more, it’s not so much the woman, these impacts. It is more on the quality of sperm. Because let’s not forget a lot of times when we talk about infertility, there seems to be focus on the, on the female and on the women. Forgetting that there’s actually someone else- a very important person in this picture.

Very important need for sperm, because it doesn’t just happen with egg. There needs to be a sperm to create a child. Um, so that  contributes to that. 

And there’s also this, you ask the question about the age. Hmm, very controversial. I would say generally speaking, I would say that fertility tends to decline with age generally with women in terms of the quality of the egg. And I would say into your thirties, into your late thirties for women, that’s. Changes start to happen.  Because if you look at studies that look at, um, the risk of having a child with down syndrome that increases with age and that’s to do with the quality of the eggs.

Okay. I don’t know how it works. I’m sure they do it in the U S as well, but over here. Like when a woman’s pregnant, as part of her antenatal care, she will have something called a down screening. Which is a combination of different things. So they’ll do a blood test, they will take her age into consideration, they will look at the scan for the baby and then put all of those factors into this calculator to calculate her risk of having a child with down syndrome. And that risk actually is very heavily affected by her age. 

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:06:59] Okay, good. Thank you so much for that. Because I’m like what?  Yeah, so that was really good. Okay. Alrighty. So we know what infertility is.

We know what is possibly contributing to infertility. So what is the usual way to treat it? How can we go about navigating this infertility? 

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:07:18] Um, I think it depends. I think it will come down to what the reason for the infertility is. And I appreciate a lot of people all over the world are dealing with this.

And it’s so sad when people are trying to have kids and they’re not able to, or they have difficulties with having children. And like I said, it depends on what the reason is. In some cases, actually, there’s no reason. And we can’t quite explain. We can’t quite explain we’ve done all the tests and we don’t know why this is the case.

I think the kind of address that maybe I should talk about the reasons or the different causes. So say the infertility was caused by sperm quality. Then you might look at, you know, referring them onto a specialist who can then think about if there’s any causes or reversible causes to kind of improve sperm quality and they can easily put on medication.

If you’re thinking more about the woman side of things, it could either be one of three things. Is that the woman’s not ovulating. In which case you might then think about treatments that focus on stimulating ovulation. Some people might go on medication such as clomiphene or Clomid is quite popular, to kind of stimulate that process so that they don’t produce eggs when they ovulate.

And then can then hopefully go on to conceive. Or to have kids there’s also, some people might have had, you know, unfortunately might had infections of the womb and the fallopian tubes. And sometimes, actually the reason of the infertility is the fact that there’s a physical blockage. That’s stopping the egg from coming down that tube.

So in that situation to a procedure to kind of help unblock, the tubes sometimes might help with that. And sometimes when all of these things fail. And, you know, we’re not able to treat or reverse any causes in that situation. People might then think or look to look into or consider assisted reproduction.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:09:04] Okay. Okay. Alrighty. Very good. Very good. All right. That’s very comprehensive. So you know what to do. Alrighty. So, okay. That’s the medical right? That’s the medical world, right? But we hear that Chinese medicine. Hijama, maybe yoga. Maybe when you black seed for like a man, um, etcetera, are like beneficial. Is there any truth to this?

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:09:28] That’s the difficulty. I can kind of hypothesize as to how the methods can help, but there’s not been enough clinical research in this field. And as a clinician, I go with evidence-based. You have to show me how many people have this had been trialed on, um, what was the failure rates? What’s the dose of this that they need to have for it to work?

And because. I don’t have those answers. I can’t say for certain, if these things help, but like I said, I can hypothesize because some of these things work on the basis of increasing or stimulating blood flow relaxation, which in all, are helpful. In terms of someone who’s trying to conceive because stress, as we all know, it’s not good for any sorts of stress is not good for you. So something that relax you enough, then great. That is definitely something that could help with fertility in terms of. Trying to get your body in the right state to kind of conceive and not just women, but men as well. But regarding if these things work as a definite, I’m afraid, I won’t be able to answer that.

I can just talk about the other effects of, I can’t say for certain that if you do this, then it definitely works. 

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:10:40] Yeah. Yeah. Like I like I’m a pharmacist, but I actually really. Because people come to, I’m actually interested in also like natural, natural therapy. So people asking you this questions and I’m like, yeah, what I read is this.

And so I wanted to throw this out here. Out there, just see if you, if you knew anything else. 

All right. 

Because I can tell you for certain, if it will work and even if you meet, like you said—-just out of our control, right? 

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:11:09] Yeah. 

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:11:10] Any tips you can share, like things people can hold on to today that can help them in navigating as infertility is a big question.

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:11:20] Yeah. I mean, like I said, it’s such a, it’s a difficult, um, it’s. It’s very difficult when people are in this situation, because sometimes they can then feel helpless. Well, I guess I’d like to put out there is hope, because I think everyone, everyone, if you ask anyone, everyone wants to have their own child that they’ve they’ve, you know, they’ve both, and I’m saying this for, um, a man and a woman or partners or whatever.

They’ve both conceived together. Yeah. But, you know, sometimes, unfortunately those things are out of our control. We can try all these things, but there is still hope out there. You know, there’s still things to look to. So things like maybe looking into assisted reproduction, and also thinking about all these other kids out there who are looking for a home.

Um, it’s something that I always, I know that it’s usually the last, my last resorts when I’m talking to families or couples. But I do say to them that actually just because you haven’t conceived that child yourself doesn’t doesn’t mean that that child can never be yours. So it’s just to think. I think not to despair and feel like it’s all over, but it also just think about the possibilities and the other options that are still available to you.

Um, but also look after yourself so that we don’t have to then be thinking about all these reversible things that we could have done. Um, because one of the things that can cause like I said earlier on, tube blockages in women is, um, untreated sexually transmitted infections. And it’s really important that I mentioned that because for women. Women don’t get the same signs or symptoms as men do, men tend to know sooner that they’ve got an STI compared to women.

And unfortunately, in the case of a woman, it might be that this infection has gone on to cause long-lasting damage that will then, you know, come- come to lights in the future. So just look after yourself, you know, regular sexual health screens, don’t smoke, alcohol, those kinds of things don’t do your body any good.

So even if you’re not thinking about for fertility, just thinking about your general health and keeping your body in the best condition. 

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:13:25] Wow. Very good. Alrighty. So that’s good segue. What is, we’ve talked about a lot of things-you’ve given us hope. What is one thing that you want to make sure that people take away from this conversation here today?

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:13:39] When you, when you say one thing, do you mean infertility related or just-

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:13:42] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Infertility this ——-navigating for them. 

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:13:49] Well, um, one thing I would just say is that don’t, don’t despair. If you’ve been trying to have children, don’t panic just yet keep calm and speak to your doctor.

Often, there are things that can be done. Okay. 

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:14:02] Very good. Well, thank you so much. Um, is there a way people can get ahold of you if they had any questions after the show? 

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:14:09] Yes. So I run a women’s health page on Instagram. It’s Women’s Health with Dr. Rasheeda that’s the Instagram handle. So you can send me a DM or an email, and I will respond as soon as I can.

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:14:22] So what is that again? Women. So @

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:14:26] @womenshealthwithdrrasheeda is quite a mouthful. 

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:14:29] Okay. One word. Okay. Alrighty. Well look for you. So thank you so much for coming on here. This was very informative for me. I learned a few things and I hope you did to. So thank you so much, Dr. Rasheeda.

Everybody make sure you turn on your notifications and subscribe to our channel.

So you don’t miss an episode. It was wonderful having you here. Enjoy your week. Have a good one. 

Dr. Rasheedah Ayandipo: [00:14:54] Thank you. Bye-bye 

Dr. Adeola Oke: [00:14:56] Bye-bye. 

Ending: [00:14:57] Thank you. And sharing your precious time with us. If you enjoy the show, then follow us and subscribe on iTunes, YouTube, or any app that carries podcasts. Have an awesome week. Best wishes to see you thrive.